Hi guys - thanks for your feedback. Search is difficult to do well, mostly because Google is the yardstick by which other experiences are measured. I agree with @cronoklee that prepending a regular Google search with "site:cycling74.com" works very well. The only caveat is that the Google indexing is somewhere between 1 day and 1 week late, so you don't get the most up-to-date results.
I don't think, that the neural net based hightech methods of google are necessary to enhance the search experience.
The searching itself should be easy, but how to do the ranking...?
I think some very simple rules already would be sufficient:
Search result should always be the threads, not single posts.
The date of a thread is its latest entry, the newer, the higher the rank.
If the search terms are in the subject: ranking highest, and then if they are in the body the closer to the first post the higher, and the more often the search term is in the answers the higher the rank for that thread.
For multiple entries always use boolean "and".
("or" never makes sense, as you could easily do two searches)
The only difficulty is to weight these (three) methods for the final ranking, but this can be found with experiments and observation of actual search results and the behavior of those who invoked the search (which thread do they pick in the list, that seems to be the most relevant on first sight...)
AGREED! it would definitely make things easier if you could just type in the key word your searching for and it comes up with the threads which contain those keywords. That would also prevent people from posting a question which has already been asked before.
Another good thing in my opinion would be a direct link to the advanced search. At the moment, as far as I know, you have to type a searchword into the textfiled at the left side of the cycling74 page and then after waiting for that first search to complete a link shows up for the advanced search.
Also, in the advanced search, the menu for selecting what perticular forum to search in is positioned over another dropdown menu. But that is a purely cosmetic issue:)
would definitely make things easier if you could just type in the key word your searching for and it comes up with the threads
it seems like the tags
are here for that very purpose but nobody ever uses them - including vets and c64 staff. there are thousands of threads containing valuable info but they have useless subjects like: "please help fast!!!", "hmmm trying to find a good way", and "me think bug no good to ok be?" so searching by subject alone often yields little.
Just one last thing, and I haven't thought of a brilliant solution for this yet, but half of the knowledge I gained from the forums came from searching an object and having it pop up as text in an inline patch. Now that we do copy compressed that's not even an option anymore. Would be amazing if there was some way to parse the compressed for max objects and include them in the tags.